In what has to be the biggest stretch for an excuse to get more poker on television yet, New York's YES network (cable home of the New York Yankees) and NESN (Cable home of the Boston Red Sox) have announced the "Boston vs New York Poker Challenge". The show, which pits New York Yankee fans against fans of their hated rival the Boston Red Sox at the poker table, will shoot in February, and air in the Spring on both networks. PartyPoker.net is the title sponsor for the series.
The Boston Red Sox/New York Yankee rivalry has been arguably America's most intense pro sport rivalry for decades. Recent years have stoked the fires of this always-hot rivalry even more, as the two teams have battled it out for superiority. YES, and NESN are betting that they can turn the intense passion each teams fans have for their team - and their intense dislike of each other - into compelling television.
Anyone who has spent any time around fans of both teams knows that these two groups of fans are particularly sharp tongued, and can verbally spar with each other in a way that is unique to this particular rivalry. YES and NESN are particularly looking for participants who will mix it up verbally, and go at each other with an intensity to rival, well, the rivalry. "We're looking for people with poker ability, passion for sports, and personality,'' says BostonCasting.com's Angela Peri, who is responsible for the casting of the Boston participants of the show.
An interesting thing to note about this show is not only will the participants need what Peri describes above as the "three P's"; they will need cash. Each participant is expected to put up $5,000 of his or her own dollars to participate in the show. Six players from each city will be selected to square off over the course of nine episodes. Both baseball teams have upped the ante, promising a luxury suite to a Red Sox, or Yankees game in addition to prize money to the winner of the series.
So, it's a poker show, meets guys at the bar talking sports, meets Jerry Springer. I'm waiting for someone to combine a food show with poker, or maybe a gardening show with poker - feel free to pitch me your ideas.